Mintos prepare for Western Regional
So what does a team do for 19 days between games?
Well, the Prince Albert Mintos decided to break up the routine a bit when they held a skills contest before playing some shinny with parents and younger players during their practise session on Sunday at the Art Hauser Centre.
“We worked the boys pretty hard for a week so this breaks up the monotony a bit,” said Mintos’ head coach Ken Morrison as he watched the friendly competitions of a shootout, hardest shot and fastest skater from the stands. “We’ll take a day or two off next week and then get ready for the final push.”
The Mintos had their Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League season come to an end just over a week ago when they were eliminated by the Battlefords Stars in the semifinals. That left the club with some time to fill as they won’t see any game action until April 3 when they will play the Thunder Bay Kings in their opening game of the Western Regional championship.
The Mintos are the host team for the four-day event with Thunder Bay having won the Northern Lake Hockey League title to gain the right to represent Northern Ontario while the Winnipeg Wild won the Manitoba championship when they got past the Eastmen Selects in four games.
Just the Saskatchewan champions are left to be determined with the Notre Dame Argos currently holding a one-game lead over the Battlefords Stars after claiming the opening game with a 5-4 triumph in overtime.
Morrison said that preparing for teams for an event like this is somewhat sketchy, but they have started doing their homework.
“We’ve been looking at the team rosters and stats, but there is no video or anything,” said Morrison. “And, I don’t think they have any on us.”
Morrison, a former University of Saskatchewan Huskie, watched his alma mater in the CIS championship game on Sunday when they lost 3-1 to the University of Alberta Golden Bears. The Huskies were the host team for the national tournament and also had a lengthy break after losing out in the quarter-finals last month. Morrison hopes the Mintos can shake off the rust and get to the final of the Western Regional as well.
“Why not us?” said Morrison when asked if he thought his club had a chance to move on to the Telus Cup national tournament to be played in Moose Jaw later in April. “Hopefully we play well and that is all we can hope for.”
Preparations for the Western Regional continue to progress quite nicely with tournament passes now on sale at the Raider box office from 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. every week day. The passes, which cost $40 for adults and $30 for seniors and students, will also be on sale during the Raider playoff game on Wednesday.
The Western Regional, which runs from April 3-6, will consist of a round-robin between the four participating teams with the top two clubs after the preliminary round playing in a championship final. The winner will then head to Moose Jaw for the Telus Cup national tournament.